Mayor Kim announced on the city’s website that he would be changing the organization of the City Council meetings. The spin he offers is that this will improve the opportunity for public input. In fact, its real purpose appears to be to accommodate Black Lives Matter’s disruption of Council business at the expense of inconveniencing the public and doing the city’s business in a timely and transparent manner.
For a start, City Council meetings will now begin at 6PM instead of 7PM, making it more challenging for citizens who work to attend.
Council meetings have always begun with a public comment period, but BLM now regularly uses that time to act out and disrupt Council meetings to the point where the Council has twice had to abruptly adjourn without doing the city’s business.
Kim has now moved the public comment period to occur later in the agenda. The consent agenda will now be the first order of business. Without the approval of the consent agenda, the city would be unable to pay its bills, including employees’ salaries. In recent meetings, the Council has had to huddle together and hastily pass the consent agenda before adjourning in the face of BLM protests that have broken out during the public comment period.
Kim seems to also, for some reason, to have prioritized the County Supervisors’ agendas and any recognitions he wants to schedule, such as the performance by the Sound of Music cast that went on at the June 6 meeting. These are also now scheduled to occur before the public comment period. Of lesser importance seems to be doing the actual business of the city that is scheduled to (maybe) take place after the public comment period depending on whether BLM decides to let the meeting continue or not.
The original announcement was (note the typos):
The actual agenda that was published for the June 6, 2023, meeting was even sloppier.
So in one location of the agenda, the Supervisors are supposed to be at the beginning of the meeting, but as readers can see, the agenda also has them speaking at the end of the meeting.
Do We Really Need To Do This?
One might ask, why are we the only city in the capital district that is subject to the complete disruption of our meetings? Albany legislature? No. Troy legislature? No. Schenectady? No.
This new format appears to assure this community that Mayor Kim regularly expects to adjourn Council meetings due to BLM shutting it down and that he doesn’t plan to do anything about these disruptions.